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How many Gods are there?
The subject of who God is and how many Gods there are has been a topic of discussion for centuries. Some groups believe there are three distinct personalities in one Godhead (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit). Many believe that there are two Gods (who existed eternally) and one of these Gods became the Anointed or Christ. Then, there are those who believe in only one true God and no other! Who's right? Well, the answer to this question is vital to our spiritual understanding and growth. So, let's look into the word of God for the answer to this very important question.....
What is a 'God?'
At Psalm 82:1 we read, ‘Our God has stood in the gathering of gods, and in the midst of the gods He judges.' (Septuagint) This verse (in fact, this entire Chapter) is only vaguely understood. Who are the ‘gods' that God meets with and judges? Psalm 82:6 tells us, ‘I said You are gods; of the Most High you're sons.' So, these words seem to apply to beings who were created by God, and refer to God's servants, the angels or celestial beings.
The usual explanation of Psalm 82:6 is that God was speaking to humans, for Jehoshua quoted this scripture at John 10:34-36, when he said, ‘Isn't it written in your Law, I say that you are gods? If He called those who were spoken against in God's word gods, how can you tell me that I blaspheme because I say I'm God's Son?' However, notice that The Christ wasn't saying that his listeners were gods; he was saying that those with whom God met and judged (as mentioned in the Psalms) were called gods. And these were not only God's sons, (they came into existence by a direct command by God) but they lived in ‘dark places' or Tartarus (demons) (see Psalm 82:5).
God has not come and met with gatherings of men, but He has met with all His spirit creation, as Job 1:6 tells us (Editor's note: It should be understood that God is invisible to all beings, but God has provided visible images of Himself to angels, as in Job and humans through Jehoshua). So from the context, we must assume that God was calling His wicked spirit sons gods, and He was warning them that when the old ‘earth and sky' pass away (see 2 Peter 3), they too will be destroyed.
Notice that; at Exodus 7:1 God told Moses, ‘Look! I've made you a god to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron is your Prophet.' So, was Moses literally turned into a god? Yes he was, if you understand what that really means..... Now, we recognize that this concept may be a bit difficult to grasp for people who were raised in a monotheistic society where the word god refers to just one individual. However, remember that the Greeks were a polytheistic society (they worshiped many gods), and to them the word theos (god) referred to a large group of individuals who were more powerful than men. So in Greek, theos just means powerful one, not Creator (which is what the Hebrew name "El" implies - He who causes to be). Also, notice how God again used the word gods at Exodus 22:28 to refer to men. In Greek this verse reads, ‘theous ou logeseis,' or, ‘You aren't to speak badly of the gods.' But if you read the context, you will see that God was telling the Israelites not to speak badly of powerful humans here, not to demon ‘gods.' Thus, the term god and gods just refer to the powerful. And even men can be gods...that is, in the truest sense of the word's meaning (powerful ones).
Trinitarians teach that there are three persons, but one essence that (are all equal) comprises the God. The most distinctive doctrine of the trinity is that of the personality and deity of the Holy Spirit. The term ‘trinity' is not a Bible term; it is a man-made term. To believe in the trinity is to believe that there is a unity of the heavenly beings. There are three co-eternal, co-equal persons, the same in substance, but different in individuality. There are three persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Now these three are truly distinct one from another, and yet they are all one. The Nicene Creed reads that ‘...the Heavenly Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods, just one.'
This appraisal of the trinity would lead one to believe that the Father must be His own son, and the Son must be His own Father, and that the third entity, the Holy Spirit, is equal to the first two, the three being one, yet different personalities and responsibilities.
Origin of The Trinity
All Pagan religions from the time of Babylon have adopted (in one form or another) a Trinity doctrine or a triad or trinity of gods. Long before the Christian era, numerous variations of the trinity existed, and they were found in a host of pagan religions and mythologies. As with so many other pre-Christian traditional customs and practices, the revival of this doctrine in the Christian era was predictable. It was essential that followers be able to see Christianity - their ‘new' religion - in familiar terms. Triad deities (the worship of a three-in-one god) first appeared in ancient Egypt about three centuries after the Great Flood of Noah's time. These Egyptian deities came to be worshiped as Osiris, Isis and Horus. Long before the founding of Christianity the idea of a triune god or a god-in-three persons was a common belief in ancient religions. Although many of these religions had many minor deities, they distinctly acknowledged that there was one supreme God who consisted of three persons or essences. The Babylonians used an equilateral triangle to represent this three-in-one god. The Greek triad was composed of Zeus, Athena and Apollo. These three were said by the pagans to 'agree in one.' One of the largest pagan temples built by the Romans was constructed at Ballbek (situated in present day Lebanon) to their Trinity of Jupiter, Mercury and Venus. In Babylon the planet Venus was revered as special and was worshipped as a Trinity consisting of Venus, the moon and the sun. This triad became the Babylonian holy Trinity in the fourteenth century before Christ. Although other religions for thousands of years before Christ was born worshipped a triune god, the Trinity was not a part of Christian dogma and formal documents of the first three centuries after Christ. That there was no formal, established doctrine of the Trinity until the fourth century A.D. is a fully documented historical fact. Clearly, historians of church dogma and systematic theologians agree that the idea of a Christian Trinity was not a part of the first century church. The twelve apostles never subscribed to it or received revelation about it. So how then did a Trinitarian doctrine come about? It gradually evolved and gained momentum in late first, second and third centuries as pagans, who had converted to Christianity, brought to Christianity some of their pagan beliefs and practices. The modern belief in the trinity originated in the 4th century at the Council of Nicaea in approximately 325 C.E. King Constantine, the Roman Emperor and an adherent to paganism, presided over the Council. Its main purpose was to unite the Roman Empire by achieving agreement on Christian doctrine. This would promote a universal consolidation within the church. As the council proceeded, there were two distinct sides, which the Archdeacon Athanasius of Alexandria, Egypt upheld regarding the trinity. Arius fought for the opposition; but after long weeks of debate, the admitted pagan, Pontifex Maximus Constantine, ruled in favor of the Trinitarian teaching of Athanasius, the Egyptian. Egypt, one of the oldest civilizations in the world, had long before adopted the pagan belief of the trinity. One of the most famous Egyptian trinities was that of Horus, Isis, and Seb (HIS), a trinity that consisted of father, mother, and son, and a concept that also traces back to Babylonian ancestry. History teaches that much later, after instituting a mandatory belief in the trinity, Constantine tried to be more tender and merciful with the decision, but it was too late. The Nicene Creed (also known as the Athenasian Creed) had taken hold. All who did not believe in the trinity doctrine were persecuted and killed. Every available instrument of torture was used on the nonbeliever. The Nicene Creed has since been amended, but it is still read today in many of the Protestant and Catholic churches. Those churches that associate themselves with the World Council of Churches now require belief in the trinity doctrine.
Does the Bible Support the Idea of the Trinity?
While the word Trinity is not found in the Bible, is the concept of the Trinity taught clearly in it?
The Encyclopedia of Religion Vol. 15 1987 admits: ‘Theologians today are in agreement that the Hebrew Bible does not contain a doctrine of the Trinity.'
The New Catholic Encyclopedia: ‘The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not taught in the Old Testament.'
The Encyclopedia of Religion says: ‘Theologians agree that the New Testament also does not contain an explicit doctrine of the Trinity.'
The Encyclopedia Britannica 1976 observes: Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament.'
Protestant theologian Karl Barth (as quoted in The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology 1976) similarly states: ‘The New Testament does not contain the developed doctrine of the Trinity. The Bible lacks the express declaration the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are of equal essence.'
What about Matthew 28:19?
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything". The words found at Matthew 28:19, ‘in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,' are not found in the ancient Shem Tob Hebrew manuscript of Matthew, so they are likely spurious (words that were added to the
Bible). And this begs the question: Does the Bibles really command that we be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? Many churches use the words found at
Matthew 28:19, 20 in most modern Bibles, when baptizing, which say: ‘Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all the things that I commanded you.' (This has been called the Trinity Formula, since it contains the three-person
Godhead). At present, we don't have any complete Greek manuscripts of Matthew prior to the 4th Century, and all existing Greek and Latin manuscripts written thereafter contain this phrase. However,
there is evidence that this reading is a later corruption of the original text. For example: The early Church historian Eusebius appears to quote from a different manuscript than any we presently
have; for, eighteen times (between the years 300 and 336-C.E.) he cited Matthew 28:19, 20 as saying: ‘Go ye and make disciples of all the nations in my name,
teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I commanded you.' And it's interesting that the traditional Trinitarian reading of Matthew 28:19
doesn't appear in Eusebius' writings until after the Council of Nicaea, when the Trinity began to formally be held as official doctrine. So, evidence strongly indicates that this is a spurious
scripture inserted by later Trinitarians, in the same vein as 1 John 5:7-8. However, this finding may prove to cut both ways for some; for while it breaks
apart the only mention in the Bible of the Trinity trio, it does seem to prove what many Trinitarians have said all along; that baptisms should only be done in the name of the Christ. So, since there
may be no true mention of baptizing in the Names of the Father and the Holy Spirit, the only other instructions in the Bible on how to baptize include:
Acts 2:38, ‘Repent, and each of you get baptized in the name of Jehoshua the Anointed One, so your sins can be forgiven. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Breath.
Acts 8:15, 16, ‘They went [to the Samaritans] and prayed for them to receive the Holy Breath, because it hadn't come to any of them yet, although they had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jehoshua.'
Acts 10:48, ‘So he commanded that they should be baptized in the name of Jehoshua the Anointed One.'
Acts 19:5, ‘When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jehoshua.'
Also, notice the Description that Luke gave of the parting words of the Anointed, as found at Luke 24:47. ‘Then, in his (Jehoshua) name, [the message of] repentance for forgiveness of sins is to be preached in all the nations, starting from Jerusalem.' So, as you can see, the Trinitarian formula isn't found there either, which it surely would have been, if this was the true formula for baptism. For, why would Luke have missed such a critical detail if it was in fact said by Jehoshua?
Questions to Examine
Matt. 3:17 ‘Look! Also, there was a voice from the heavens that said: ‘This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.' Q: Who approved of whom? How does this verse suggest the two mentioned here are the same God, or equal?
Matt. 26:39,42 ‘...My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will. ...Let your will take place.' Q: If the Christ were Almighty God, or equal to Him, why would Jehoshua have any need to pray? Would it be possible to have two separate wills, since the Christ said, not his will, but God's will should take place? How do you reconcile that if they are both the same, or part of the same God?
Luke 22:29 ‘And I make a covenant with you, just as my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom.' Since a covenant is a solemn promise between two parties, one does not make a covenant with oneself. Q: Since there is no mention of the Holy Spirit here, how does the Holy Spirit tie into this covenant? On which part of the covenant would the Holy Spirit be, on the Father's side, or on the side of Jehoshua?
Luke 23:46 ‘...Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.' This expression helps us to understand that Jehoshua really did die. Q: If the Christ is part of the same God, or if the Anointed is God, then why didn't the Father (and the Spirit) die too? How could just part of one God die and not the rest of that one God? The Athenasian Creed states that all three are ‘equal in eternity;' meaning that all three are ‘from everlasting to everlasting'. So if Jehoshua died, but God (and the Spirit) didn't die, how could they be ‘equal in eternity' since there were parts of three days that Jehoshua did not exist, yet God (and His Spirit) did?
John 14:1 ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Exercise faith in God, exercise faith also in me.' Q: Why would the Christ say to exercise faith in him directly after he had said to exercise faith in God, if the Anointed IS God? Doesn't that seem redundant? If the Christ is God, then why does Jehoshua make a distinction here between ‘God' and then ‘me'? And, why doesn't the Christ say to exercise faith in the Holy Spirit?
Col 1:3 ‘We thank God the Father of our Lord the Christ...' Q: Does Paul include Jehoshua or the Holy Spirit in the word ‘God' (as in the Trinity)? If so, why does Paul go on to mention the Christ as God's Son?
1 John 5:5 ‘Who is the one that conquers the world, but he who has faith that Jehoshua is the Son of God?' Q: Isn't that clear? Are those that conquer this world those who have faith that the Anointed is the Son of God, or ‘God the Son.'
Two "Gods" or "The One True God"
The doctrine of two “Gods” existing eternally is somewhat correct, but flawed in the details. So, let's go back and try to explain this concept. We must first understand that God exists in a realm of His own, thus He is unique! There is no such thing as time in the realm of God. So, the term “eternal” can't express God's existence! This word is only related to time.” But, within “The One True God” exists the “Logos Power or God's Spirit, which allows the Almighty to bring about His will.” God begets (or causes to exist) the Logos (or The Visible Image of God) through this Logos Power. Thus, a set point is established and time is created! There now exists the Almighty God and His Visible Image. The Logos has the same awesome wisdom, abilities and eternal existence (will not cease to exist) that God has, because this image is God! This event would be considered: “the beginning of the creation of God.” It should be noted that the Word or Logos is also unique. The marvelous aspect of this occurrence is that the “Word” didn't come into being by abscission, (the act of cutting off from the source) but by “participation” making its choice of function does not render the Word deficient (lacking an essential quality or element) from whom it comes. The Almighty God was not deprived of the Logos Power during this transformation, nor is the Logos Power separate from God. For example: We can take a torch and light other torches with it, but the fire of the first torch is not lessened by this process. So, the Logos or the Word is the power of God and thus, “the Spirit of God.” This statement undoubtedly will be difficult to accept, but the bible seems to support this claim! From this point on, all things were created by the Word or the Visible Image of God. God expressed His will and the Logos acted. There is another critical point that needs to be addressed: The uncreated being is in need of "nothing." This being has all things within itself! The created being must be given something to exist. Thus, the Logos (being uncreated) is really just an extension of the Almighty God. This Visible Image of the Invisible God was necessary so God could interact with the celestial being (visibly), somewhat the same way God visibly interacted with humans through the Christ!
The Anointed as "The Son of God"
While the Anointed is often called the Son of God in the Bible, nobody in the first century ever thought of him as being ‘God the Son'. Even the demons, which ‘believe there is one God', knew from their experience in the spirit realm that the Christ was not God. For, they addressed Jehoshua (Jesus) as the separate Son of God. Matthew 8:28, 29 refers to the demons speaking to Jehoshua through a possessed man, saying, ‘What have we to do with you, Son of God?' They did not refer to Jehoshua as ‘God the Son'. Also, when Jehoshua died, the pagan Roman soldiers that were standing by said, ‘Certainly this was God's Son.' (Matthew 27:54). The disciples viewed Jehoshua as the ‘one mediator between God and men,' (1 Timothy 2:5) not as God himself. A mediator by definition is someone separate from those who need mediation. The apostle Peter clearly makes the distinction of Father and Son and that Jehoshua (Jesus) had a God that resurrected him, by saying ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jehoshua the Christ for according to His great mercy He gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jehoshua the Christ from the dead.' (1 Peter 1:3). The apostle Paul similarly states, ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord the Christ, for He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in union with Christ.' (Ephesians 1:3) So, what did Jehoshua teach? Did He come preaching that He was equal to the Mighty One of this world? Where did he get all of His knowledge? He got it from the same place any son does - from His Father. He said, in John 15:15, ‘For all things that I heard of My Father I have made known to you.' One can conclude that he was passing on the knowledge he learned from his Father, down to his disciples. Notice that in many scriptures, the Christ refers to God as his Father, as the authority figure if you will. He never calls God, his partner, or his co-worker as if to infer that he was an equal. Now, if Jehoshua were equal to the Father, He would know all the things that God knows! But that is not the case as we see in John 5:19. The Messiah said: ‘Most truly I say to you, the Son cannot do a single thing of his own initiative, but only what he beholds the Father doing.' Also, (Matthew 24:3) when his disciples asked Jehoshua while sitting upon the Mount of Olives, ‘Tell us, When will these things be and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things'? The Christ goes on to describe the signs but then he says: ‘Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father.' (Matthew 24:36)
John 14:28, ‘You have heard that I said to you, I am going away and I am coming back to you. If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going my way to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am.' Jehoshua is very clear in the fact that He is NOT equal with His Father. Jehoshua showed that he was a creature separate from God and that he, the Christ, had a God above him, a God whom he worshiped, a God whom he called ‘Father'. In prayer to God, Jehoshua said ‘Father, the hour has come: glorify your son, that your son may glorify you. This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of You, the only true God and of the one whom you sent forth. So now You, Father, glorify me alongside Yourself with the glory that I had alongside You before the world was.' (John 17:1-5) Editor's note: When, John 17:5 is read, we could get the wrong understanding of this verse. It is clear that the Christ is making two point here. Firstly, that the union that he had with his Father, was related to the time he was born and not related to a pre-existence. Secondly, that this union was before "the new beginning" or the orderly arrangement that would be coming to mankind in the future. A close review of the Greek words that have been translated into "before and world is needed." But the Anointed did say, ‘I and the Father are one.' (John 10:30) But here again, that statement does not even suggest a ‘Trinity', since he spoke of only two as being one, not three. This statement can be better explained by the expression that he himself made clear later when he prayed regarding his followers that, ‘they may be one just as we are one.' (John 17:22) Jehoshua and his Father are ‘one' in that the Christ is in full harmony with his Father. He prayed that all his followers might also be in harmony with his Father, with Jehoshua and with one another. The Christ, when speaking to Mary Magdalene said, ‘Stop clinging to me. For I have not yet ascended to the Father. But be on your way to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God.'' (John 20:17). The apostle Paul expresses it best as he introduces the true God of the Bible: ‘For even though there are those who are called ‘gods', whether in heaven or in earth, just as there are many gods and many lords, there is actually to us one God the Father, out of whom all things are, and we for him and there is one Lord, Jehoshua the Christ, through whom all things are, and we through him.' (1 Cor. 8:5-7). It is interesting that Paul references ‘the Father' and ‘the Christ,' thus differentiating them from all other ‘gods' and ‘lords,' but, missing the perfect opportunity, he fails to mention the Holy Spirit, the supposed third member of the trinity. ( Deuteronomy 4:35, 39, 6:4, 7:9, Nehemiah 9:6, Isaiah 44:6,8, 45:5-6, 21, Mark 12:28-32, John 17:3, 20:17, 1 Corinthians 8:5-7, 1 Timothy 2:5 )
We began this study asking the question: "How many Gods are there? The Bible seems to state that there are many gods, (powerful ones) but only "One True God, The Almighty God" the Father of the Anointed One ( Jehoshua ) with powers beyond our understanding.......
Note: contributed materials included